With 4 Turkish asylum seekers still missing after their boat capsized in Evros river, Turkey has reportedly detained one of their relatives.
A woman and her three children went missing after a boat carrying several Turkish asylum seekers who fled Turkey due to an ongoing government crackdown on followers of the Gülen movement capsized in the Evros River along the Turkey-Greece border on Wednesday night. Euronews identified the missing as 36-year-old Hatice Akçabay and her three sons, seven-year-old Ahmet Esat, five-year-old Mesut and one-year-old Aras. Meanwhile, the news portal said 5 others from the same boat were rescued by Greek officials.
The Yeni Hamle online news portal reported Thursday that Turkish police detained the children’s uncle Yusuf Akçabay. Akçabay “was trying to get officials to start rescue operations,” Yeni Hamle said.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrikulu tweeted that Edirne governor has confirmed search and rescue operations have been launched to find those missing.
In the meantime, Murat Akcabay, the missing children’s father and one of those who were rescued, sought help in video recording posted online the same day.
"My name's Murat Akcabay. On the night of July 18th, my wife and three sons got lost in the Maritsa River. There isn't a significant search-and-rescue operation. I am calling out to everyone to help my loved ones because we haven't heard anything for the last 17 hrs." pic.twitter.com/QHSUJGh1kJ
— Şakirdek (@sakirdek) July 19, 2018
Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government against sympathizers of the Gülen movement in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The government accuses the movement of masterminding the coup while the latter denies involvement.
More than 150,000 people have been detained and some 80,000 including academics, judges, doctors, teachers, lawyers, students, policemen and many from different backgrounds have been put in pre-trial detention since the failed putsch.
Many tried to flee Turkey via illegal means as the government cancelled the passports of thousands of people.
On Feb. 13, at least three people died and five others went missing after another boat carrying a group of eight capsized in the Evros River while seeking to escape the post-coup crackdown in Turkey.